If you’re a writer wondering how to find an editor I’m here to tell you, you’re not alone. This is one of the most common questions I receive!
Yes, You Should Work with an Editor
Now, you (the writer) might feel like hiring someone to edit your work is unnecessary. The truth is, a good editor makes your writing better and it’s in your best interested to work with one if you can. They aren’t as close to your precious words and sentences (and commas and semi-colons) as you are and can give objective—not personal—advice on how to improve your work.
So consider it. Be open to it.
Different Types of Editing
If you’re writing short-form pieces like articles, essays or blog posts, you’ll probably work with a copy editor or a proofreader. If you’re writing long-form pieces like books then there are additional types of editing to consider.
- Developmental editors takes a 30,000-foot view and look at the overall story and structure, ensuring the work flows from beginning to end
- Copy editors go through material ensuring the work is suitable for the publication, check grammar, word usage, and punctuation, improve it for readability and organization and remove inconsistencies, errors and repetition
- Proofreaders go through material in order to catch typos and fix formatting issues. At this stage there isn’t much (if any) reworking, just tweaks
How to Find an Editor
Once you’ve decided what type of editing you require, here are a few things to consider when you’re looking to hire an editor.
- Ask people in your network for references. Use your network! They want to help you. If you don’t know any editors, ask someone who does. Get a referral then look at their website. If he or she seems like a good fit for you, reach out
- If you don’t have a network or you’re still looking, go to a professional editors association. Sure, you can look on freelance sites for an editor and you might find an awesome one but I recommend going to a professional association like Editors Canada first. In order to be accepted into an association like this editors need a track record, training and professional experience
- Choose an editor in your niche. Just like you have a specialty, individual editors specialize in their areas. Every genre and industry has different rules so you’ll benefit the most from an editor who understands your niche inside and out and can make sure your work conforms the way it needs to
During this process it’s a good idea to reach out to several editors and interview them. This person will be working alongside you so you need to be confident in his or her work and abilities and you need to trust his or her judgment and advice. And yes, it is acceptable to ask for a sample edit and to check references.
One other thing to keep in mind: if you’re not open to being edited there isn’t much your editor can do for you. Don’t hold on too tight. Try and understand your editor wants to make your writing even better and isn’t attacking you or your person even though it can feel pretty unnerving at first.
If you can stick with it and trust your editor, you’ll learn a lot about writing…and yourself through the process.